Watch: The National Releases Video for New Single 'Eucalyptus'

In the lyrics, The National gives a shout-out to another Cincinnati stalwart, the Afghan Whigs.

click to enlarge The National performs at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, New York, on March 4, 2023. - Photo: Graham MacIndoe,
The National performs at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, New York, on March 4, 2023.

Cincinnati-bred alt-indie rock band The National keeps priming the pump for the band's upcoming album.

On March 22, The National released "Eucalyptus," its latest single from the forthcoming album First Two Pages of Frankenstein. A raw, slow-burning ballad that gradually intensifies and surely will become a venue singalong during concert dates, "Eucalyptus" chronicles those moments after a break-up in which the parties are surrounded by the items they'd amassed together. Back and forth, they decide who gets which portions of the loot as they prepare for their lives apart, an exercise that often feels both productive and numbing.

"What about the glass dandelion? What about the TV screen? What about the undeveloped cameras? Maybe we should bury these?" Matt Berninger sings. "You should take it, 'cause I'm not going to take it. You should take it – I'm only going to break it."

In the lyrics, The National also gave a shout-out to another Cincinnati stalwart, the Afghan Whigs, as the couple divvies up plants and an album collection.

"What about the rainbow eucalyptus? What about the instruments? What about the Cowboy Junkies? What about the Afghan Whigs?" Berninger sings.

According to The National's Instagram account, Chris Sgroi directed and filmed the video for "Eucalyptus," which was filmed in part at Aaron Dessner’s Long Pond studio. The song is the third single from First Two Pages of Frankenstein.

First Two Pages of Frankenstein is scheduled for an April 28 release. The band's ninth studio album will feature collaborations with Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and others.

"We had so much help making this record what it is but I want to thank our dear friends @taylorswift @phoebebridgers and Sufjan for joining us and contributing so magically," Dessner previously said on social media about First Two Pages of Frankenstein after releasing the album's first single "Tropic Morning News."

Members of The National frequently collaborate with other musicians, both as a band and as individuals. Notably, Dessner has worked with Swift numerous times, producing and co-writing her 2020 album Folklore and its follow-up Evermore and re-recording versions of Fearless and Red. Dessner also produced several songs on Swift's 2022 album Midnights, with fellow National members Bryce Dessner and Bryan Devendorf also contributing. 
In January 2022, Dessner came to Swift's defense after Blur and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn suggested during an interview with the Los Angeles Times that Swift doesn't write her own songs. In response, Dessner tweeted, "Not sure why you @Damonalbarn would try to discredit Taylor's brilliant songwriting but as someone who has gotten to press record around her ...your statements couldn't be further from the're obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process."

Homecoming watch

According to a February newsletter from The National, Homecoming – the Cincinnati festival that the band curates –is coming back to Cincinnati
"We've had an overwhelming number of questions about Homecoming 2023," The National said in the newsletter that was emailed to fans. "We're pleased to report that Homecoming is scheduled to return to Cincinnati this fall. When we have additional information to share, you will be the first to know!" All emphasis in the quote belongs to the band. As of press time, social media accounts for The National and for the Homecoming event itself have not mentioned the festival recently.

Launched in 2018, Homecoming took place in Smale Riverfront Park along the Ohio River and featured two nights of music, with The National taking several performance slots themselves. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band postponed and then outright canceled later attempts to stage the festival. The National generally has been silent about Homecoming since 2020

When the alt-indie-rock stalwarts posted tour dates for 2022 with Cincinnati conspicuously absent, fans and media anticipated that a Homecoming return was imminent. But no such announcement happened, and CityBeat received no updates on the local festival from band representatives or festival text alerts.
In January, The National dropped a tour announcement, with 19 dates in North America and 10 dates scheduled for Europe and the United Kingdom but none in Cincinnati. The band later added shows in additional cities, again leaving Cincinnati dry.

As of press time, the Homecoming website says "Homecoming 2023: For updates about future dates for Homecoming please join the mailing list!" The message is the same as what was posted in 2022.

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